Souleymane Bachir Diagne
Learning from others is a very important question nowadays. Let’s take the situation of the world as it is. It is called postcolonial world. What does it mean to say that our world is considered postcolonial? It means that learning does not come from one single culture or language. One easy way of characterizing the colonial situation is to say that you have, in a colonial situation, some kind of imperial language which is supposed to be the language of the learning, the language of the beautiful, the language of truth, etc.
Everybody else needs to learn that language, as it is the imperial language, the language of the truth. To say that we are in a world which is postcolonial is that you have total equivalence of culture and languages. And this is a situation in which one can say that you can learn god knows what from god knows who. In other words, learning becomes a radically symmetrical situation encounter. You learn in a symmetrical situation that encounter is learning, in other words encounter is truth. In other words, you are able to step out of your comfort zone, your understanding, your own perspective of the world in order to embrace a different perspective.
If you are precisely in a situation of understanding what it means that one language in the world is one language among others, one language among other equivalent languages. And, this is why this world is both plural, really diverse world, and also one world. And, hopefully, having such an attitude, adopting such a posture of understanding what it means to learn from others in a situation of radical symmetry is going to teach us some fundamental truth about our time - what it means to be living in a global world.
We talk about globalization, but when we talk about globalization what it means mainly is that you have all these financial fluxes and fluxes of goods, etc. What does it mean for us, as human beings to learn to inhabit one single world? It means to inhabit it with our differences and at the same time multiply the richness of such a world by precisely learning how to live together, which means how to get from each other the richness of this world, and the multiplicity of perspectives. So, learning from others would mean one world, but one diverse world.
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